Express Yourself… by Voting

4 11 2014

My senior year of high school happened during the infamous 2000 Presidential Election.

And because most of us were at least a few months shy of being able to actually vote, we held an election at my school. Now, I don’t remember the exact tally (because I’m old y’all — for real), but it was basically a landslide for Al Gore. I mean, such a landslide that even though I knew it would be closer in real life, I was genuinely shocked by just how close it ended up being. And then, even more so, that George W. Bush won* (it will always have an asterisk by it, as far as I’m concerned).

I can’t begin to describe to you how devastated we all were that we couldn’t have actually voted when those results came in.

I mean, we wanted to vote before then. But we REALLY wished we could have voted after.

And I’ve yet to let an election pass by since then where I haven’t voted. Mostly because I didn’t want to experience that feeling again. That feeling that if I could have/if I would have just voted, then maybe the outcome would be different. But also because I knew, even then, that as a black woman, I stood on the shoulders of two groups of people who had to fight for the right to vote in this country. And I didn’t want to let them down.

There will be lots of people who speak differently today. Who say and believe that voting doesn’t make a difference. They will say that your vote does not count. Or that it’s not worth the hassle. That it’s all rigged anyway. Or even that the candidates are all the same, so who cares who wins?

But I say that if you have ever wanted to express yourself and your opinions on the matters that affect your community, voting is one of the most powerful ways to do it. By voting, you effectively say — “I stand for this.”

And in a country where too many people feel that their voices are unheard, far too many let that opportunity slip on by. Far too many of us purposely put ourselves in the position to end up just like me and my classmates in November 2000 — wishing we could have made a difference, but powerless to do anything about it.

Don’t let that happen to you. Not on this day. Not for this election.

If you haven’t voted already (by early voting or absentee), please do so today.

And when you’re done, encourage someone else to vote too.





Let’s Be Clear — On Robin Thicke’s Attempts to “Get Her Back”

1 07 2014

I get it. I do. He wants his girl back.

But yooooooooo — I don’t think this is working like he’s hoping for it to.

Now, maybe it is. We don’t know the intricacies of their relationship. So maybe I’m wrong, and Paula is putty in his hands now — but something tells me that’s not the case.

And while I’m all for being open and honest with your partner, all of his recent antics just remind me of another “famous” instance where a guy tried to make a grand showing to his girl, when he would have had a better chance doing something private and genuine and sincere. Do you all remember the disaster that was rapper, Joe Buddens, proposing to his ex in Times Square and having her say no in front of their families, friends, and the camera crew? Yea… not a good look.

You know why? Because she didn’t want a grand gesture. She wanted to see him consistently put in effort to be there for her and to be considerate of her. The grand gesture (in that instance and in this Paula Patton instance) just comes off looking like desperation and manipulation, but not at all sincere.

I mean, let’s think about this for a second. If it’s true that part of why she wanted a separation was because she felt he was embarrassing her, does it really make sense to then use what may be real text messages between them about the failure of their marriage on his music video? How is that not even more embarrassing? She probably feels like she can’t even leave the house right now without being asked questions about Robin getting her back! That doesn’t seem to be taking away the embarrassing factor at all.

And if those text messages are real, it says something that her response to “I wrote a whole album for you,” was “I don’t care.”

Ouch. On a hundred thousand trillion.

That text message alone would make me rethink my strategy. And yet, there was Robin Thicke on the BET Awards this Sunday replaying the same shtick he’s been doing since last year. The same shtick that by most accounts hasn’t actually gotten her back.

What I find most interesting though is the response from the public. For the most part, it seems like there’s a bit of a divide on if this is working. Some are with me and think that his approach is completely off base. But I’ve seen some women pitying him and some guys truly confused about what more Paula could possibly want. I’ve heard them say things like, “he’s publicly embarrassing himself for her! Isn’t that enough to show how much he loves her!” And to that, all I can say is that if it were me — I wouldn’t believe a word he was saying because it comes off as him trying to persuade the public, instead of getting into the dirty details with his partner. And anytime a woman doesn’t feel you’re being genuine, you have a long way to go to winning her heart or winning it back.

What do you all think? How would you feel if your beau was trying to get you back in this kind of manner? Would you find it sweet and enduring or manipulating and not effective?





Are You Thirsty or Just Interested??

24 06 2014
Photo: blacksportsonline.com

Photo: blacksportsonline.com

“Oh, you’re thirsty… Boy there ain’t no SOS; Filled with discontent; Finding you can’t quench; Why you try so damn hard?” ~ Mariah Carey, Thirsty

Destiny’s Child called them bugaboos. TLC called them scrubs. And now Mariah has used the current terminology, thirsty, in her song aptly titled, Thirsty. But what does it mean to actually be thirsty/a bugaboo/a scrub?

Well, as with most slang terms, a lot of it probably depends on the person using the word. Some have used it to describe any person that likes them and does something above and beyond what’s normally considered dating quorum (like calling 2 seconds after receiving that person’s number). Others have used it to really just describe anyone they don’t like who likes them. And still others use it to speak about a person who just seems to come off fake and tries a bit too hard at things.

Either way, even if you don’t know the meaning, I’m sure you’ve heard someone make a comment about thirstiness before — something like, “Oh he’s so thirsty! He called me twice this week! Can you believe it?”

Now, that’s clearly someone projecting because he/she didn’t like the dude, but in that purely hypothetical instance, thirsty was an appropriate describer for that person! She meant it!

And this brings me back to my original question. If thirsty is subjective to who is using it, meaning the definition changes based on the user, how are you ever to know whether or not you’re projecting thirst until you know what that one particular person does or doesn’t like?

It’s a bit of a conundrum right? Because as we’re learning things about each other while dating, chances are we’re not always going to get it right. We’re going to assume that this guy likes to be treated one way because the last few guys did or this girl likes to complimented all the time because the last girl did. And we inevitably run the risk of being thought of as thirsty during these trial periods.

And no one wants that moniker.

I mean, no one.

So what do we do? We combat the thirsty title by completely acting the opposite way of what could ever be considered thirsty. We play games (even though we don’t think that’s what we’re doing), and we make ourselves seem so disinterested in the outcome that we could never ever be thought of as thirsting for someone else. And guess what? There are definite consequences to that. I know I’ve found myself erring too much on the wrong side at times, trying not to come off as thirsty but forgetting that guys still need to know when you’re actually interested in them. And as I’ve said before, I’ve learned (and still have to remind myself sometimes because I’m a hard head) that while I’m over there trying not to be “that girl,” that girl is showing the guy I want how much she wants him and reaping the benefits.

This came to my mind recently when I took one of those Buzz Feed type quizzes (although it wasn’t actually Buzz Feed) to see what type of girlfriend I am. Unsurprisingly, I got the independent girlfriend. And the description had me both cracking up and instantly remembering just how dicey it is trying to toe the line between coming off thirsty and being a part of the could have been a love story duo.

Whoa, Ms. Independent! Your guy digs your modern style… But he’s sometimes left to wonder if you really like him. Keep that unique spirit, but show him your love a bit more often. No worries – you’re light years away from smothering him!

Don’t get me wrong, here. I’m not really taking advice from a survey monkey quiz, but it definitely had some truth in it. I’ve had more than a few guys admit to me (while we were dating!) that they didn’t know if I was interested. Sure I can relish in the fact that they’ve never called me thirsty (to my knowledge), but I’m also not with any of them either. Some of those are for very good reasons. And some of them are simply because I was too afraid to be myself and risk looking like I was parched for water.

So what are yalls thoughts on thirstiness? Do you use the word and in what context? And have you ever found yourself using it to describe someone who was just interested in you a bit more than you were comfortable with or trying to not be thought of as thirsty?





A Dialogue: Are We Scared of Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones for Love?

12 03 2014

“Tell me this,” he said. “If Simon and Schuster told you that a book deal with them was contingent on you moving to New York, would you do it?”

“Well yea, in a heart beat,” I responded.

“So what’s the difference?”

“The difference is one has to do with my career. It’s my livelihood; it’s what I was brought up to cherish. It would be about me standing on my own as an independent woman and going full force into my goals. And the other is…”

I paused. We both knew what I was going to say. That the other was something less stable. Less sure. Less everything but frightening. I didn’t want to admit that to this friend though, seeing as I’d just finished telling him how I was coming to the point where I was realizing that my career without love wasn’t as fulfilling.

“The other has to do with what you’ll do for love,” he finished for me.

“Yea, but c’mon, that’s a horrible comparison,” I suggested. “You know how I feel about my book(s). It’s a passion of mine I’ve had for years now, so of course I would do almost anything to make that happen.”

“And being with the person you love isn’t a passion of yours?”

“Don’t do this. Don’t act like this is as simple as you’re trying to make it sound. That’s a scary concept – moving to make things work with someone. Who does that?”

“Plenty of people!”

“And how many of those people looked stupid afterwards? No one wants to be in that number. That’s scary!”

“Of course it’s scary,” he said. “But when is doing something out of your comfort zone not scary? Do you think it wouldn’t be scary for you to up and move, even if that meant you’re getting an amazing book deal? No – it’s still scary, but you go into it with a different mindset.”

He continued.

“It’s not just you, though. It’s our generation. We have no problem taking risks and doing what it takes for our careers, scary stuff be damned. But suggest that we put that same action into our love lives and we clam up. We start to focus on what could go wrong as opposed to what could go right. Now, we don’t ever do that in any other area of our lives. You don’t take a job and think to yourself, ‘what if a month into this job I hate it? And now I’ve given up my other job and I can’t go back.’ NO – you think, ‘this may be scary as hell; I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know if I put my all into it, everything is going to work out like it should.’ Why don’t we do that when it comes to our relationships?”

“Well because the fall out from relationships seems so much more devastating. You move to make something work, and it falls apart, and now you’re the girl or guy who moved for someone, and it didn’t work out. You’re that cautionary tale of stupidity. Of thinking love solves all.”

“Sure, that could happen. Or you move and you find out that you all work perfectly together. And it’s something you would have never known for real if you hadn’t taken the risk. I think it’s just deciding what’s more important to you – the chance that it could go wrong, or taking the chance that it could go very very right?”

“Yea, I see what you’re saying,” I said, looking down at my plate for help in this discussion. Like it could actually help. “But it’s just so hard. Logically it’s easy to say, even if it doesn’t work out, God’s got my back either way, and at least I tried. But…”

“But fear holds you back,” he interrupted. “And we know just how beneficial that is.”

What do you all think? Is our generation one that gets weary when it involves stepping out of our comfort zones for love? And to be clear, stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to mean moving to another location. It could mean trying online dating, giving that guy/girl a chance who you never thought you would, deciding to abstain from sex until marriage when that’s the opposite of what you’ve been doing before — basically I’m talking about anything that makes you just slightly uncomfortable about doing it, but for reasons that involve things like how you’ll look to others and what happens if it doesn’t work out.





On How Your Body Heat Affects Your View of #theCuddles

11 12 2013

My friends and I tend to come up with a lot of theories on various topics. We’re not conspiracy folks or anything like that, but we do seek to find some sense of meaning in the random happenings in the world. This probably just proves how much we’re all control freaks, but whatevs — some of our theories are pretty great. And even when they’re not, we still believe them.

Case in point, one friend believes that the reason Checkers and Rally’s are the same company with different names is because 2 brothers split off from each other at one point. She didn’t read this anywhere, but she regularly says it like she knows it’s fact. It’s actually quite hilarious to watch her give the explanation and have folks believe her as if she actually researched the company.

Well, anyway, we recently we came up with another of our brilliant theories after I admitted that while cuddling with SGWMMS for the first time a couple months ago, I went through a good twenty minutes of torture that played out in my head like this — “Ohhh, this is nice! But I’m so hot. But damn it, this is nice. But I’m so HOT! But sigh, I like being wrapped up in him. SH*T, now I’m sweating. Dear God – help me!” Eventually, I just settled into “this feels nice, mmmm,” but it took a lot longer than you might expect.¹ And because I wasn’t the only person who ran hot who had this problem, thus began out two-part theory on cuddling and running hot or cold.

Part 1 — If you run hot, cuddling is a bigger deal for you than if you run cold because you are literally inconveniencing yourself to be wrapped in this person’s arms.

You see, we noticed that when talking about our different beliefs in #thecuddles, those who ran hot (as in your body is naturally warm and you like to keep your place a little on the cooler side — ie ME!) were a little less enthusiastic about cuddling. We saw it as something more intimate than the ones who ran cold. The coldies (ha!) just typically saw cuddling as something nice to do, but not necessarily the holy grail of intimacy.

This makes a bit of sense physiologically, because in order for you to enjoy something that physically makes you uncomfortable, you probably have to have a certain level of intimacy with the person you’re cuddling. Folks who run cold just kind of tended to think of the other person as an extension to their damn blanket.

Part 2 — Most people will be drawn to date/sex/cuddle with someone whose body temperature runs opposite of their own.

Through our non-scientific research, we determined that most people ended up dating/sexing/cuddling with someone whose body temperature ran opposite of them. This would explain why I, a person who runs hot, always manages to date men who run cold and love to cuddle; while my girl who runs cold and actually wants to cuddle all the time manages to be with men who run hot and see it as a bit of a physical burden.

So crazy, right? But how trippy would it be if our two-part theory is true? They do have those beds that are made for couples with different body temperatures for a reason.

Anyway, this is where you all come in. We need more people to join our non-scientific test, so we’re not just running around spouting the theory like the Checkers/Rally’s one without something to back it up. Do you find it to be true that you date/sex/cuddle with people whose body temperature normally run opposite to your body temperature? And do you match up with our theory about running hot and cold and your desire to cuddle?

Let me know. I’m so curious to find out the answers.

1 In a twisted turn of events, I actually really do enjoy cuddling with dude, but I had to train my body to not get overheated when we do so. It also doesn’t hurt if it’s a cooler night.





Do We Really Want Our SO to be Friends with Our Friends?

4 12 2013
They look like such great friends, but are they? Photo: http://threestepdating.com

They look like such great friends, but are they?
Photo: http://threestepdating.com

“Tell your friends to get with my friends and we could be friends. Sh*t, we could do this every weekend. Is that alright with you?” — Puffy/ Big Poppa

One deal breaker I’ve heard many guys and girls mention over the years is if they meet someone who doesn’t get along with their friends. Now, if it is one person who doesn’t like the potential significant other (SO), no sweat – but if that person doesn’t get along with anyone (!), the guy or girl eventually starts looking at him/her with the ultimate side eye.

This makes sense in some way if you think about it because unlike family, we all choose our friends and probably spend a lot of time with them. So I can see how it would be concerning and frankly, disappointing if no one in your crew was feeling ol’ boy or chickadee. Especially if you’re like me and hope that your significant other will not only be your lover, but also be one of your best friends. But, I also think we tend to take our hope for the SO and our friends further than just them getting along. We all also tend to want them to be able to be friends with our friends. For what’s better than being able to hang with your guy, your friends, his friends, and everyone is having the time of their lives, right? Not much, I’m sure.

The question though is can it truly be done? Or are we inadvertently setting these folks up for failure with an expectation that they’ll never actually be able to meet?

And do we actually really want them to be friends (like we say) or is it that we want them to all be great hang-out buddies who really enjoy each others’ company, but don’t actually engage with each other unless we are around? If we’re honest, I bet most people would say the latter. For several reasons. The two biggest probably being to a) eliminate any acts that may seem out of pocket, and b) to avoid the splitting of friends if things go wrong between the two of you.

Now, I get it. I’m just as much a victim of saying I’d love everyone to be friends as well. Along with my visions of sugar plums, I dream about laughing and joking with my guy and our friends, all in one big happy friend family. I say things like “I want him to be my best friend, but I also want him to consider my friends his as well.” I joke with my friends about situations in the future when we’ll all be married and taking couple trips together — all friends, no awkwardness surrounding anything. But, even with all that being the case, I’m still not sure it’s really possible under the true sense of the word friends. Acquaintances? Associates? People who really like each other? Yes, yes, and yes!

But friendship implies that you will also be comfortable with your SO having conversations with your girl friends without you around. That you won’t think twice when he says, “oh baby I was texting such and such today and you won’t believe what she said.” Can that happen? Sure! Some of my closer friends are actually couples in which I’m legitimately friends with both the guy and girl. But does it happen as often as we profess to want it to happen? Probably not.

What are your thoughts on the whole friends with his/her friends thing? Let’s talk. And if you do think it’s a good idea, do you think there a boundaries that need to be set in place to eliminate any chances of a situation like what happened with Tony Parker and his homie’s wife?





On Kanye and Choosing to be Happy

25 11 2013

Unless you rarely pay attention to pop culture at all, you’re probably aware of Kanye Wests’ rants on Twitter about the sketch Jimmy Kimmel did mocking his BBC interview. While I’ve heard a bevy of commentary about whether Jimmy Kimmel was at fault or if Kanye is officially off his rocker, I’ve been more concerned with what seems to be an increasing sense of unhappiness in his actions (and no – the subsequent interview with Kimmel didn’t change that).

To be clear, I’m not debating what was said in the BBC interview or whether Kimmel was wrong for mocking said interview. I’m saying that when you’re truly happy within yourself, while folks mocking you may bother you (because, well you’re human), it probably won’t bother you so damn much!

Listen, I get it. It’s probably really frustrating to have paparazzi following him around at all times, especially now that he has a baby. And then to have Kimmel (!) mock him like Kanye was one of those folks on Hollywood Boulevard! The nerve! Especially when he has so much creativity flowing through him that he obviously wants to impart upon the world. But c’mon, dude seems to be lashing out all the time these days.

I guess the real question here is — when was the last time we saw footage or even a photo of Kanye looking legitimately happy? Having fun? Enjoying this life he’s created for himself? Outside of the David Blaine clip where he looked surprisingly amazed at the trick that had occurred, I can’t remember. Can you? Now, granted, we don’t see this man all the time (and he certainly doesn’t owe us any perfunctory smiles), but if every time you saw someone, he or she had a scowl on his or her face, and you saw that person a lot, you’d probably become a bit concerned. No?

Regardless — Kanye West is just an example here (albeit a pretty famous one) of a larger problem I think we all experience at times.  We don’t choose our own happiness. I don’t know Kanye (even though we all probably feel like we do at times). What I do know, though, is that being happy involves making the choice to do so, and crazy as it sounds, sometimes that’s not the easiest choice to make. It’s not something that just falls into your lap one day. You don’t get it by waiting for others to acknowledge your accomplishments (although, of course that helps sometimes lol). You don’t get it by relying on the happiness of others to make you feel fulfilled. And you certainly don’t get it by waiting for the gatekeepers around the world to recognize that what you do is important and needed on this earth.

No, you choose — every day, every minute of that day — to seek happiness instead of pain and instead of frustrations. To not let the negativity sink in for too long. To determine that no matter what is going on in your life, there is always something to be grateful for.

As we draw closer to a day where millions of people take a moment to give thanks for the people and things in their lives, I just want to encourage everyone to also take those small moments on other days as well. Find what makes you truly happy and go for that with every fiber of your being. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. I’ll be joining too, so you won’t be alone.

And hopefully, just hopefully, it’ll also stop you from knocking out any potential paparazzi that pop up in your life.